BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Pitlochry
This beloved Charles Dickens story has been adapted by playwright Isobel McArthur for Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Miserly money lender Ebeneezer Scrooge hates the festive season and is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve who want to show him the error of his ways.
The modern message is clear as Scrooge states that he shouldn't have to subsidise poor people. When he is challenged by a charity collector and told that people will end up dying he barks that the population needs to be reduced anyway. Scrooge firmly believes that people falling upon hard times is down to their own choices or perhaps just downright laziness. Now, where have we heard that before?
The entrance of Jacob Marley's ghost is wonderfully atmospheric. The temperature seems to drop significantly in the auditorium (unfortunately it doesn't quite warm up again for the rest of the performance) and Rory Beaton's lighting design is incredibly eerie. The stage setting is also stunning and the street lamps are a brilliant touch.
Colin McCredie has captured Ebeneezer Scrooge's meanness perfectly. However, when Jacob Marley's ghost appears McCredie is hysterical from the second he hears his chains outside the door which means he doesn't really have anywhere to go to convey his increasing fear and upset. The ensemble cast are excellent and double up as carol singers and musicians which definitely brings the festive cheer.
McArthur's adaptation remains true to the original novel but with a fresh and modern twist. This production of A Christmas Carol makes the message behind story feel more relevant and urgent than ever.
A Christmas Carol runs at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre until 23 December.